Six Nations band member dies of COVID-19

·2 min read

A member of Six Nations of the Grand River has died of COVID-19.

This is the second COVID-related death on Six Nations, and the first since early April.

Ohsweken Public Health informed Six Nations Elected Council of the death over the weekend, and the news was made public on Tuesday.

No information about the deceased was shared.

“Heartfelt condolences, thoughts, and prayers are sent to the families at this time as they mourn the loss of their loved one,” elected council said in a statement.

“Please know we acknowledge the community’s fatigue from COVID-19, but we must remain diligent in our response for our elders and most vulnerable. We must continue to consider their health whenever deciding to leave the safety of our homes.”

There are still 10 active cases on Six Nations after public health reported a new positive test on Monday. Recent cases have been linked to mid-winter ceremonies held in January.

COVID-19 case counts are falling in the communities that surround Six Nations, but on the reserve the virus is spiking, with 10 cases reported over the past seven days.

Those 10 cases translate to 116 per 100,000 based on overall population, according to Six Nations Health Services. That compares to 97 per 100,000 in Hamilton, 63 in Haldimand-Norfolk and 35 in Brant.

“COVID-19 transmission is at an alarmingly high rate,” council’s statement said. “It is very easy to spread unknowingly, as a person may be asymptomatic while still being infected with the virus.”

Since the pandemic began, Six Nations has recorded 153 positive cases, with 141 recoveries along with the two deaths.

Most positive cases have been found in the 20 to 39 demographic, followed by band members aged 40 to 64. Infections among seniors and children have been relatively low, at fewer than 25 in each group.

Public health officials encourage all band members to continue taking precautions such as avoiding non-essential travel, maintaining physical distancing, wearing a mask in public and washing hands regularly.

J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator